Defectors from Daesh seek refuge in Free Syrian Army-held Azaz


Defectors from Daesh -- who joined the terrorist group earlier from foreign countries but who later came to regret the decision -- are now finding shelter in camps set up by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in northern Syria.

Dozens of Daesh defectors -- including French, Dutch and other European nationals, along with a number of Uzbeks and Arabs -- are now being rehabilitated by the Jaysh al-Tahrir, an armed opposition group that operates under the FSA's umbrella.

The defectors, many of whom have recently fled Daesh-held areas in Aleppo's eastern countryside, are being provided by their hosts with religious training and indoctrinated against the terrorist group's "misguided ideology".

Two such defectors -- both female French nationals -- told Anadolu Agency this week how they had escaped the terrorist group's clutches and found succor at an FSA camp.

Speaking anonymously due to fears for their safety, the two women recalled how they -- along with several other Daesh members -- had had to run for their lives when the area in which they were staying was pounded by airstrikes.

Setting off at night in a vehicle that later broke down, the pair described how they had to journey on foot until they reached an FSA-controlled area in Aleppo.

"We reached a checkpoint near the city of Azaz," one of them said. "FSA fighters there took us in and gave us food."

"They helped us out because we were tired and hurt after our long journey," she added.

They went on to recount how FSA fighters had then brought them to the location at which they are still living.

Since their arrival, they had not been mistreated, they stressed, but they both nevertheless want to go back to France.

"They [FSA fighters] are quite friendly; they haven't mistreated us in any way," one of them said.

"But even if they're friendly, it's difficult for us here," she added.

"Language is a problem. We want to go back home," she said. "We don't understand why we've been here so long."

The pair concluded by saying that they had been "physically and psychologically worn out" by their harrowing experiences.

"Please help us," one of them entreated. "We just want to go home."

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